About 1745, Col. Buchott, of Metz, in France, invented, or claimed to have invented, the plan of girdling, or, as the French call it, the annular incision of the vine. For this, he was awarded a premium by the Agricultural Society Of France.

It was claimed that the invention would be of great value in hastening the maturing of the grape, as well as improving the quality. The latter point has been one in dispute among grape-growers from that time down to the present.

Thiebaut de Bernaud, in his Manual on the Vine, which was published in New York in 1829, says, "Girdling is a means of forcing the ripening of the grape, and increasing its size and quality. By the oldest records we have, it appears that it is a process that has been long and well known, and was used to prevent the blighting of the vine. All writers on agriculture, from Theophrastes and Pliny down to Julius Hygin, speak of it in the most unequivocal terms as a practice in use among all the gardeners and vinedressers of their time".

Wm.R. Prince, in his Treatise on the vine in 1830, makes similar remarks when speaking of this subject. As the author of the latter work is yet among us, we hope, for the benefit of others as well as ourself, that he will point out the chapter wherein we may find this subject treated in the works of the ancient authors mentioned. We do not say it is not mentioned by them, but simply that we have not been able to find it in any edition of their works which wo possess.

The Agricultural Society Of France, which awarded Buchott a premium for his invention, was composed of men who had read the Agricultural and Horticultural writings of the ancients; and, without doubt, knew what they contained in relation to the vine. This seems to preclude the idea that it was an old and well-known practice in the days of Pliny, Theophrastes, Columella, and other writers of their time, as has been claimed.

Strabo speaks of girdling layers of the vine before burying them, as it compelled them to form roots more abundantly than if buried without. This is well known at the present time; but it had no reference to the fruit, as is claimed by the authors referred to.

Torsion, or bending of the shoots, is much practised in France upon fruit-trees, as well as upon the vine; and it produces similar results, by hastening the maturing of the fruit, without being so injurious to the plant. This operation was well known to the ancients.

Du Breul, in the Revue Horticole, p. 86,1857, says in relation to the subject, that "Lancry, in 1776, exhibited to the Society Of Paris a branch of plums on which the operation had been performed, by which the size of the fruit had been very much increased; so much so, that the success of the operation was fully proved".

When speaking of girdling the pear, he says there have been many reasons given why it increases the size of the fruit, but none were satisfactory.

M. Bourgeoise, in the Revue Horticole of May, 1858, says, "Last season, I had the honor of presenting the Society Of Agriculture of Paris some brauches of the vine upon which had been performed the 'annular incision,' by which operation the ripening of the grapes had been hastened fifteen days, and at the same time the berries were much larger and more beautiful".

Upon this representation, a commission was appointed by-the Society, of which M. Pepin was the reporter, to examine the experiments in his garden at Peray. With his report, he placed upon the Bureau of the President some remarkable specimens, showing the following results:

1st. A branch with two bunches in the normal state.

2d. A branch upon which the incision had been practised under the best conditions.

3d. A branch upon which a ligature had been placed instead of the incision.

4th. A branch taken from a branch of a stock which had received the incision upon the old wood.

He says, further, that he had repeated the experiment upon a branch, leaving three bunches, upon which was practised two incisions. The same phenomena were exactly reproduced. The bunch below the first incision remained in the normal condition. The bunch above the second incision became much enlarged and more beautiful, as well as advanced in ripening. The bunch between the "incision" was only of half-matured size, and did not ripen at all.

The final result appears to be, that it is useful for every country or climate, but particularly for those of so low temperature as not to permit the grape generally to ripen, enabling them to produce grapes for the table of first quality, and equal to the celebrated Chasselas of Fontainebleau.

Some of the writers upon grape-culture have recommended girdling as of the greatest importance, while others have denounced it as injurious to the vine, and only adding size and beauty in appearance to the fruit, besides depriving it of the power of acquiring the real excellence which it would acquire if ripened in the natural way. Still another class of writers have taken a medium course, and recommend its use only in particular seasons, such as cold, damp, or late seasons, when blight may be expected, and a failure of the crop is certain unless some means are used to hasten its maturity. Without doubt, the real value of the invention is this: it gives us an opportunity of getting a tolerable grape in unfavorable seasons, instead of getting none.

Wine made from grapes grown on girdled vines is always inferior to that from those well ripened in the natural way, and its keeping qualities are very much inferior. If practised extensively upon the same vine for several years in succession, it weakens the plant, if it does not entirely destroy it. In some parts of Europe, it has been practised in the same vineyard for half a century, and yet the vines are thriving; but they only girdle a portion of the vine each year, always allowing a free circulation between a sufficient number of leaves and the roots to keep the plant healthy.

We have often seen what were apparently remarkable results from its practice upon the Isabella and Catawba vines in this vicinity; and, from the large and beautiful appearance of the bunches, many a premium has been awarded at our Horticultural and Agricultural Fairs for grapes produced in this way, although the quality of such fruit was very inferior to other specimens exhibited in competition of less size, because these were in their normal state.

A friend of ours, who lives in an adjoining State, where the Catawba does not fully ripen in the open air, stated to us not long since that he had taken premiums on his dropsical Catawbas for several years in succession over all competitors, because of their fine appearance, which was produced by girdling.

Girdling may be said to be useful in unfavorable seasons in three ways:

1st. To prevent blighting of the blossoms.

2d. To hasten the maturing of the fruit.

3d. To increase the size.

To accomplish all of these, we must perform the operation a few days be--fore the flowers expand; but if the season is favorable, and the fruit sets, it can be performed any time until the fruit is fully grown, only the sooner it is done after the fruit is set the better the results.

The mode of operation is to cut a ring of the bark clean to the true wood.

The size of the ring should be from one-eighth to one-half an inch in breadth.

It can be performed on the- old as well as new wood; but the last year's growth is preferred. Do it only on that which you intend to throw away at the next season's pruning.